A stable oxidized form of hemoglobin that is unable to release oxygen to the tissues, produced in some inherited abnormalities and by oxidizing drugs.
- Red cells are lysed and potassium ferricyanide oxidizes hemoglobin to methemoglobin, which combines with potassium cyanide forming cyanmethemoglobin.
- In addition, the enzyme systems for reducing methemoglobin to oxyhemoglobin are incompletely developed in infants under six months of age.
- In the normal physiological state, small amounts of methemoglobin are formed during the reaction between oxygen and hemoglobin, but these amounts are typically limited to less than 0.02 of the total amount of hemoglobin.
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